SARATOGA SPRINGS, N.Y. (AP) - Belmont Stakes winner Palace Malice pressed front-running Moreno from the outset, then took command in the stretch to win the $600,000 Jim Dandy Stakes on Saturday at Saratoga Race Course.
Mike Smith rode the Todd Pletcher-trained Palace Malice, who ran 1 1/8 miles in 1:47.37 and finished a length in front of Will Take Charge. Moreno was third of nine.
``Everything went absolutely as we talked about it this morning when Mike and I went over the race,'' Pletcher said. ``We had a beautiful trip. He got into a good comfortable rhythm down the backside. He relaxed nicely and finished up pretty well in a very, very good time. We got the race over the track.''
The Jim Dandy sets up Palace Malice for what it expected to be a return engagement with Kentucky Derby winner Orb and Oxbow, the Preakness winner, in the Aug. 24 Travers Stakes.
``The horse keeps getting better and better,'' Pletcher said. ``Today was arguably his best performance yet. He finished up pretty well and in very good time. Hopefully, on to the Travers.''
The victory was worth $360,000 to the owner, Dogwood Stable, and $4.70, $3.40 and $2.70 to Palace Malice's betting supporters.
``It set up really well, but Todd and his connections had him really ready,'' Smith said. ``He was better than last time. Those are kind of big words to say after winning the Belmont, but he truly was, and with room to grow.''
Will Take Charge paid $11.80 and $6.10, and Moreno returned $4.30 to show.
Earlier on the Saratoga card, Laughing led four opponents at every call and won the $600.000 Diana Stakes for fillies and mares. The Alan Goldberg-trained 5-year-old held off a late bid from Dream Peace and prevailed by a head. Jose Lezcano rode the winner, who covered 1 1/8 miles on the inner turf course in 1:47.24. Laughing paid $15.80 and earned $360,000 for owner Richard Santulli.
Lighthouse Bay ($45.20) scored an upset victory in the $300,000 Prioress Stakes for 3-year-old fillies, beating Wildcat Lily to the wire by a half-length after 6 furlongs run in 1:09.29. Joe Rocco Jr. rode the George Weaver-trained, Richlyn Farm-owned winner who earned $180,000. Odds-on favorite Kauai Katie finished last of seven.
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Mike DempseyMike covers the New York racing circuit (Aqueduct, Belmont Park, and Saratoga) year round as well as Keeneland, Churchill Downs, the Triple Crown, and the Breeders' Cup. The 2015 Triple Crown saw Mike correctly predict American Pharoah to win both the Preakness Stakes and Belmont Stakes. Mike nailed the Exacta and Trifecta in the Belmont Stakes. Mike had a solid 2014 Triple Crown race season, correctly picking the winning horse in 2 of 3 races. He selected I'll Have another to win The Preakness, and nailed Union Rags to win the Belmont Stakes as his top pick. Mike also had past success in the Kentucky Derby, winning with Animal Kingdom in 2011 and rode his top picks, Super Saver and Street Sense, to the finish line in 2010 and 2007 respectively. No handicapper in the industry works harder to bring you analysis that produces profits at the track! Mike's Reports include his selections, detailed analysis, a fair odds line, and wagering recommendations for the entire card. Join Mike each day with daily picks from Belmont and Churchill Downs or you can get his Weekend Best Plays Report in his Multi-Track package or sit at the track with him for 30 Days with his Monthly Horse Package!
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